Droughts and Earthquakes

What is the relation between droughts and earthquakes? Does seismicity increase at regions where a drought period is active? or there are no studied effects?


Hey @Peshawa that’s an interesting question… honestly I’ve nerver heard anything about that and haven’t come across any survey but… I may just not ne aware of them!


Hi Peshawa,

There are several studies, showing that the load of water, due to heavy rain, during the monsoon for example, can change the stress in the earth crust and therefore can trigger slip on fault where the stress are just at the limit of the rupture.

Water infiltration can also have an effect by easing the movement of a fault.


I also found that groundwater pumping following drought could affect earthquakes… but then it’s more an indirect consequences of droughts and of how we handle such situations: Study Examines Link Between Drought, Earthquakes – NBC Los Angeles

Hope this helps :grinning:


Hi @jul, thank you for the information, that was very helpfull :slight_smile:

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Hello @SismoLaure, Thank you for the responses. I will share any findings in the future especially with respect to shakemaps for flood-earthquake sequence events.

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YES please :star_struck: :star_struck:

I searched some latest literature. My search link: Google Akademik

From the one paper in result:
The theory of drought-earthquake relationship revisited

  1. Discussion and conclusion
  1. From the results of the statistical earthquake cases, there is indeed a relationship between drought and earthquake, which explains the cause of large drought areas from another aspect. The number of drought areas with earthquakes after drought accounts for 81.8% of the total number of drought areas, i.e., there is generally a drought before an earthquake, but there is not necessarily an earthquake after a drought.
  2. The magnitude of the earthquakes inversely derived from the time of drought appearance and the area of drought in the equation of drought-quake theory is larger than the actual occurrence of earthquakes, but this magnitude calculation can also provide some reference for the magnitude prediction of future occurrence of earthquakes.
  3. In the statistical earthquake cases, the earthquakes generally occurred 1 to 3.5 years after the appearance of the drought. It indicates that there are meteorological anomalies as its precursors before the occurrence of large earthquakes, and capturing such precursors may play a role in predicting, forecasting and preventing large earthquakes. Therefore, the theory of drought-earthquake relationship can also be used as one of the medium-term forecasting methods for large earthquakes when earthquake forecasting has not been conquered yet.